It may have been a dream for Cape Verde to continue their mysterious runs against African football super powers, it was more than a nightmare for Ghana’s Black Stars as they were rudely shocked in Sunday’s starry night at Abidjan.
A tournament composing of the big names in African football has suddenly turned to Greek puzzle to the giants. While the 1-1 draw of the Nigeria Super Eagles with Equatorial Guinea was initially seen as the routine inconsistency of the Nigerian side, the laborious fashion in which the most successful AFCON sides, Egypt scrapped a draw against one of the most lowly rated African sides, Mozambique possibly gave an indication of what could be in the offing in the coming games.
The form books are being torn into shreds. Adios, predictability, bye bye to form books. Welcome to the new football order!
Of the four big names – Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Egypt and Ghana – all of them multiple past winners – only hosts, Cote d’Ivoire managed to avert an upset. This lends credence to the saying that there are no truly minnows in the game.
Ghana who were upstaged by Cape Verde will have to find new strategies as they clash with equally embarrassed Mohamed Salah – inspired Egypt when both meet in a potentially explosive encounter on Thursday.
The same applies to Nigeria who have everything to play for and to play against when they face table toppers, Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday. A loss by Nigeria sees Cote d’Ivoire sailing into the Round of 16. A draw see both hanging on till last match day of the group.
A win will be a pain-reliever for the Super Eagles who are yet to win a competitive encounter in three consecutive matches. Besides, it could be an harbinger of good fortunes. Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations on three instances they avoided defeat to Cote d’Ivoire.